Sunday, April 13, 2008

How To Talk The Money Talk

Many people will talk about anything, even sex, before they'll talk about their finances. Why is it so difficult for us to talk about money? Because money symbolizes power, control, security, and self-worth. It is even used to buy love.

Statistics say that 90% of divorces and relationship endings are caused by financial issues. You don’t just have to be poor to feel this strain. Even the rich get divorced over money issues. Too little or too much money can be at the heart of the matter.

So, what do you do? Strive to make it to the middle class and stay there? That is one approach that I don’t suggest. Because no matter where you stand on the economic scale verses the scale at the gym, we always want more. What I do suggest is not letting your finances, like your weight, dictate who you are as an individual or in a relationship.

The adage, you are what you eat, might be true. But so is, you can’t take it with you. So, maybe we should value the things that we can: our true self-worth and your lasting relationships.

If you find yourself a little too little and little too late then you must take this relationship ending from the debit column and find a way to put it the credit column to not repeat this financial pattern in your future relationship. As the stock market ebbs and flows (bull and bare markets) so will your love life. Sooner or later it will flow again for you.

Here are some suggestions on “The Money Talk” for couples or your future as a couple:

• Make clear whose money is whose money. Do you share a bank account or live financially independent from one another?
• Be honest with yourself and your partner on where you stand with money. If you have always been independent it might
be hard for you to be taken care of. If you have more assets than your partner, you might not be comfortable risking your
money, or resenting his or her spending habits that aren’t good.
• Be clear on where your money is going (rent, clothing, insurance, travel, food, transportation).
• Be clear on who keeps the household books and pays the bills.
• Come up with spending and savings guidelines. Let your partner spend their own spending money in the way that makes
them happy.
• How much money do you earn together? Now? In one year? Five Years? Ten Years?
• Get a long-range financial planner when you are financially ready for retirement and investments.